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Bierce

 

Ambrose Bierce
1842-1914?

"The Statesmen"
(1910)

 

    How blest the land that counts among
        Her sons so many good and wise,
    To execute great feats of tongue
        When troubles rise.

    Behold them mounting every stump,
        By speech our liberty to guard.
    Observe their courage see them jump,
        And come down hard!

    "Walk up, walk up!" each cries aloud,
      "And learn from me what you must do
  To turn aside the thunder cloud,
      The earthquake too.

  "Beware the wiles of yonder quack
      Who stuffs the ears of all that pass.
  I I alone can show that black
      Is white as grass."

  They shout through all the day and break
      The silence of the night as well.
  They'd make I wish they'd go and make
      Of Heaven a Hell.

  A advocates free silver, B
      Free trade and C free banking laws.
  Free board, clothes, lodging would from me
      Win warm applause.

  Lo, D lifts up his voice: "You see
      The single tax on land would fall
  On all alike." More evenly
      No tax at all.

  "With paper money," bellows E,
      "We'll all be rich as lords." No doubt
  And richest of the lot will be
      The chap without.

  As many "cures" as addle-wits
      Who know not what the ailment is!
  Meanwhile the patient foams and spits
      Like a gin fizz.

  Alas, poor Body Politic,
      Your fate is all too clearly read:
  To be not altogether quick,
      Nor very dead.

  You take your exercise in squirms,
      Your rest in fainting fits between.
  'Tis plain that your disorder's worms
      Worms fat and lean.

  Worm Capital, Worm Labor dwell
      Within your maw and muscle's scope.
  Their quarrels make your life a Hell,
      Your death a hope.

  God send you find not such an end
      To ills however sharp and huge!
  God send you convalesce! God send
      You vermifuge.

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